Song debut: Jonesies, "Peter"
The minimalist Madison pop trio plays April 16 at Tone Madison's Record Store Day Party.
One of the reasons I asked Madison band Jonesies to play our Record Store Day party this Saturday afternoon is that they seem to approach pop songs with a mix of loving craft and deadpan petulance. All four of the jangly, stripped-down tracks on their debut EP, Meet The Jonesies, clock in at less than two minutes, and actually cram in a lot of interesting little structural twists and vocal hooks from bassist Mary Begley and guitarist Luis Perez.
Along with those hooks come lyrics that embrace the mundane, sometimes to an absurd extent: "Take me out to a game / Wanna see the baseball players playing in a game of baseball," Begley sings in the first line of opening track "Peter."
Begley, who handles most of the lead vocals on the EP, says the words represent something of a head game among her, drummer Tessa Reina de Echeverria, and Perez, who writes most of the lyrics. "Luis writes each song from the point of view of a different character. I always try and guess who they are about but he insists they are made up," Begley says. "He often says that the lyrics are supposed to be 'superficial" and "knowingly bad,' which I think also informs the shortness/plainspoken nature of the songs."
The narrator of "Peter" is trying (and comically failing) to win someone over with his or her art-y affect. "Would you be impressed if I told you I could play guitar? I play it poorly," Begley sings, before concluding, "It's the words that matter, or so I tell myself."
The song's title adds a few layers of absurdity. Begley also plays bass in Tarpaulin, which also has a song called "Peter." Tarpaulin singer/guitarist Alejandra Perez, who is Luis' sister, wrote that song about Begley's relationship with her boyfriend. "I thought it was super embarrassing to have a song about us at first, and still do, but it is a really great song so I let it go," Begley says. "It kind of became a big joke in our friend group, so Luis said we needed a song called 'Peter.'" Begley adds that Luis is writing yet another song called Peter for his other band, Zinky Boys.
Perhaps the joke will take off and we'll eventually have a whole Madison compilation of songs titled "Peter." For now, you can listen to Jonesies' "Peter" here and look forward to Meet The Jonesies, which the band will release at Saturday's show in the form of thumb drives loaded with the four songs and a music video for "Peter."
Our Record Store Day party takes place next door to MadCity Music Exchange at Bandung Indonesian Restaurant. Jonesies play at 1:30, followed by the mighty Control, and WORT-FM DJs will be spinning before and between bands.